Photo of Amanda with a close up of blue & white quilt behind her

2nd Newsletter - Interview with quilter, Amanda Nadig!

How would you describe your quilts in words for someone who couldn’t see them visually?
My quilts are compositions of found shapes and colors I find in my collection of secondhand fabrics. I source my materials from thrift stores and estate sales, so I work with more than just cotton. I’m interested in showcasing various textures and substrates of fabrics I love and I often “draw” on my work with embroidered images. My work is very organic and I work intuitively, I am not one that would be good at following patterns or rules. 

Hand quilted quilt with horse fabric in the top left corner & a lot of hand embroidery.Hand quilted quilt with horse fabric in the top left corner & a lot of hand embroidery.
How do you get the ideas for your quilts? Can you describe your creative process? 
I have a home studio, a small sewing room next to our main living space. It gets very messy as I throw fabric around and search through colors and shapes. I say my creative process begins when I sit on the floor and create and sort color piles. This is my way of straightening my work space and it always leads to ideas for new quilts when I discover new and interesting fabrics to put together. I don’t use rulers or rotary cutters because I prefer to rip my fabric and cut with scissors. Sometimes I’ll attach shapes to a whole cloth background using appliqué and other times I’ll piece fabric by hand or with a machine. It just depends on what I’m feeling. I work on multiple pieces at once and enjoy having quilts in many different stages of completion.
Amanda's home studio
How do you balance your roles as an artist and a teacher? How does being involved in both worlds inform the other? 
I’m a much better teacher since I’ve maintained my own consistent creative practice! Working with textiles is a meditative thing for me and one thing I’ve recognized is that stitching daily is important for my mental health. I think it’s been really exciting to be able to share my work with my students but also use what they teach me to inform my practice. For example, my students and I experiment with a lot of mixed media in my classroom and it’s always giving me ideas of new printmaking and markmaking techniques I could explore in my quilts. 

What are your thoughts on time? 
I get asked A LOT how I make time to create so much of my own work, be a parent, have a full time job as a public school teacher, and everything else life fills our time with. I make a lot of work during summer vacation (yay!) but then I scale down my work during the school year. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what I”m going to make, and I just make and let go of the idea that everything is going to become a finished masterpiece. I just want to keep my hands moving. I mentioned before that I have a lot of quilts I’m working on at the same time, in different stages of the process, so I can grab any of them to take with me while I’m a passenger on the train or in a car, to the doctor’s office waiting room, to the park or swimming pool with my kids. Handwork is very portable and I’m not restricted to working uninterrupted in an art studio. My kids are almost always sharing the creative space with me and it works!

Quilt with 5 row & 5 columns of squares
This obviously relates to question 2, but do you have any general thoughts on inspiration for our readers?
Think about the materials you use. Are they holding you back? Since I’ve used secondhand fabrics instead of storebought fabrics, I’ve been so much more productive and fearless of cutting into the fabric and just playing. This can apply to an artist who works with drawing or painting, too. Sometimes working on found papers and cardboard loosens you up and allows you to experiment more. That is such an important part of the process. Allow yourself to work on multiple surfaces at once, and play! I also love Instagram for finding other artists who inspire me. We don’t make work in a bubble; it is important to find other communities of artists who give you permission to be you and who fuel your ideas. I love The Quilty Nook for anyone interested in textile art of any kind. It’s a very inspiring and safe space.

Quilt with fat stripes of dark blue & neutrals in the background & peaches on top

Quilt with purples & bronws & 5 small diamond
I am so honored that Amanda & I were able to make this Mini-Quilt kit X 2 together. I really love it. She created private video tutorials to walk you through every step of the process. While I was watching them to just "check for clarity", I decided to follow along & now I'm hooked! I really never thought I'd be a quilter, but she makes it so easy & fun. I am NOT a perfectionist, & this style of quilting is right up my alley. If you aren't perfect either, or are trying to let go of perfectionism :), you should try it too! Enough supplies to make 2 mini-quilts: with a friend or for a friend!

(UPDATE: I initially wrote this in September, it's now January 2024, & I haven't missed a sewing day all thanks to Amanda :). It is super relaxing & meditative.)

Mini Quilt Kit X2
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